When you think of journaling, do you automatically think of a “dear diary, …. ” type of entry? Or maybe, “today I did ….” or even, “I’ve been noticing ….”
For many, journaling has been associated with “dear diary…”, which for some people is what it is, but it is important to know that journaling does not stop there. Journaling is a general term that can mean different things for different people.
In an attempt to capture the significance of journaling for various individuals, we conducted surveys on our social media platforms to get the input of our community members. Their responses will be featured throughout this article.
You can really grasp an understanding of what journaling is by considering this simple definition: Journaling: verb, write in a journal. So literally anything that you can write in a journal could be considered as journaling. One of the responses we got stated that the journal is actually their “best friend” in which they can be authentically themselves by sharing the good and bad. Another member of our community defined a journal as their “emotional safety net,” which has allowed them to be more understanding, accepting, and confident in themself. Because it has such a wide scope, there are many different types of journaling and we will cover a few of them today.
The beauty of journaling is that there is no one that way fits all. I like to think of a journal as a medium in which I can have conversations with myself, where I can release my thoughts, keep memories, and unapologetically be myself. It’s also a place where you can keep yourself accountable for goals, write your gratitudes, and can even use it to solve dilemmas or even just express how you feel.
Another response stated, that this medium allows them to “pour emotions on paper,” which allows for greater self-awareness and acceptance.
Types of Journaling:
As mentioned before, journaling can take place in many different forms. Here are 5 different ways you can journal with their particularly benefits:
1. Bullet Journal:
It’s very convenient for anyone who likes to write a lot of lists. If you begin writing them all in the same place it might be more convenient for future needs.
2. Gratitude Journal:
It is one where you keep a record of what you are thankful for. Some people write daily gratitudes; this practice helps embrace the little things in life.
3. Pocket Journal:
This is a smaller size journal that you would keep on you all day long. It is very practical for writing things that you want to remember. One of our community members stated that they shared every thought in their mind with their journal, this type of journaling could be useful for keeping up with your daily thoughts.
4. Idea Journal:
So anytime you have an idea, you can use your journal as a safe place for brain dumping all your ideas and thoughts and making mind maps to delve deeper into the potential of the idea.
5. Record Keeping Journal:
So you can also keep a journal for keeping a record of your workouts, for your pregnancy, for your prayers, for your mood, for your sleep, for your water intake… Really for anything that is important to you.
Benefits of Journaling:
As difficult as it is to put our thoughts and feelings into words on paper, doing so brings a level of relief and satisfaction that will aid you in understanding yourself more. Here are four known benefits to journaling:
Through self-reflection and being present in the day to day events of life, you are able to feel more connected to your deeper self.
2. Recording Thoughts and Ideas:
Have you ever had a thought come through your head, whether it be philosophical or simply something you need to remember for later, a journal is a great place to write it down.
3. Keeping Yourself Accountable:
In your journal you can be your own accountability buddy. There’s something about writing goals on paper that make them realer and if I may say “legit”. By writing your goals, you are committing yourself to completing them and you can always turn back the pages, look at them, and modify accordingly if necessary or write different ones.
4. Inspire Creativity:
Pen in hand, blank paper, you can take this in all sorts of directions, especially with the different types of journaling techniques available.
Interview With Our Founder, Ally Salama
After speaking to EMPWR team members, I have compiled some of their personal uses of journals that may be useful for you. One member mentioned that she uses it to organize her days and to stick to a schedule. Another member mentioned how she has switched from paper journaling to laptop journaling to be more environmentally friendly.
I have also talked to our founder, Ally Salama, discussing with him journaling and its effects on his life.
View this post on Instagram
This is the @getittogetherjournal Extremely proud of this girl @itslailasaleh putting it together. – This is a focus journal that is specifically designed to improve your mental health with exercise prompts that help you: 1)Understand yourself better 2)Reduce Stress 3)Learn to communicate more clearly 4)Connect deeper into your thoughts and feelings 5) Resolve your internal problems quickly and efficiently. The act of physical writing encourages your left brain (the methodical, reasonable, analytical ) but allows your right brain (creativeness, emotions) total free range. Journalling uses BOTH sides of the brain together, allowing your mind to become dettatched from any mental blacks that keep you from understanding yourself, others and the world around you. Often people don’t know how to start “Journaling” so that’s exactly why we created The @getittogetherjournal Dm @getittogetherjournal for pre orders ❤️ . This is step one for @empowermagofficial ! More coming soon.😍 – 📸 @faresrammah
Lina: What’s the role of a journal in your life?
Ally: Journaling has changed my life ever since I was a teenager. It was the only time I ever felt I could openly express myself and my emotions in a confidential way with no judgement. I’ve kept probably around 6 journals since 2014. I think I finish on average writing 1 journal a year since I typically write a page a day before I sleep, and reflect on everything that happens each day and how I feel then and there – and how I can use certains lessons I learn from that day to advance my knowledge and better understand my life.
Lina: Hey Ally, how are you?
Ally: I am good, how are you?
Lina: I am well thank you. As you may know, today we will be talking about journaling. How would you define journaling?
Ally: I would define journaling as a meditative process that allows me to bring all my thoughts and attention to the present moment.
It’s a tool I use to calm myself down and unleash any anger within me in a constructive manner. It allows me to open space for myself – which in a sense – allows me to feel accompanied by its presence. I’d simply define journaling as my emotional safety net.
Lina: How often do you journal?
Ally: I journal every day before I go to bed to review my day and prepare my mind for the next day’s tasks/goals etc…
Lina: What difference have you seen since you started journaling?
Ally: So since I started journaling after going to therapy, back in 2016, it has allowed me to be at peace with my emotions and myself.
I’ve started to become okay with all of the ranges of emotions I experience on a daily basis.
I’m happier today than I was before journaling.
I’m also 10x more confident than before, knowing that I understand myself better after practicing day in and day out on putting that inner voice of mine on paper.
I realised that the more I can capture that inner voice, like a camera capturing moments, the more I can have control over that inner voice and see it for what it truly is without having it manipulate me into feeling things that can sometimes be overwhelming…
Lina: Thank you Ally, for sharing your experience.
Ally: I am glad and thank you!
From this article, I hope that you are able to find a way to incorporate journaling into your day.
Remember: It could be as simple as 10 mins per day.
⚡️If you like this article, subscribe here to our EMPWR Guide and be first to receive all our latest articles surrounding mental health in the MENA Region, directly to your inbox, every Sunday.
Be sure to check out and join our global conversation around mental health on EMPWR’s Facebook Community Group!
💭Freelance Submissions & Art/Poetry are accepted here (All articles must comply with EMPWR’s writing guidelines for consideration.)